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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2010 Aug;35(7):1055-62. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2010.01.006. Epub 2010 Feb 12.

Acute and chronic stress increase DHEAS concentrations in rhesus monkeys.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, CA 94143, USA.


Most studies on the stress-responsiveness of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis have focused on glucocorticoids, while few studies have investigated the adrenal secretion of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), which is unique to primates. Monkeys were chair-restrained for 2h per day for seven consecutive days, and blood samples were collected upon placement in the chair, and at 15, 30, 60 and 120 min later. Like cortisol, DHEAS concentrations increased throughout the initial session of chair restraint (acute stress). Unlike the cortisol response, which decreased after repeated exposure to the stressor, the DHEAS response was sustained throughout the seventh session of restraint (chronic stress) and response to the seventh session of restraint did not differ from the DHEAS response to the initial session. Like cortisol, DHEAS concentrations showed a diurnal rhythm with higher concentrations in the morning compared to the evening and a decrease in response to dexamethasone (DEX) administration. After repeated exposure to the stressor, the suppression of DHEAS in response to dexamethasone was more complete, suggesting an increase in negative feedback sensitivity. These data show that DHEAS concentrations increase in response to both acute and chronic (repeated) stress and provide another measure of HPA activity that parallels cortisol during acute responses to stress but diverges in chronic or repeated stress.

Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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